WORDS ABOUT WORDS
The publication of the last instalment of the Oxford English Dictionary 75 years ago meant that 178 miles of metal type had been set in lines and divided into columns on pages, after occupying three or four generations of scholars. There had been occasional mishaps (the section covering Pa- was lost in the post, and the slips were used to light fires), but at last the 252,259 entries were complete. So there was a celebratory dinner and work on a supplement began. ... The dinner 75 years ago [June 6, 1928] to mark completion of the dictionary was addressed by Stanley Baldwin, the Prime Minister (doubtless delighted to be quoted in the last fascicle under "wit"). The editors, he said, had earned no recompense "except that every man and woman in this country whose gratitude is worth having, will rise up and call you blessed for this great work".
Jim McCue, British journalist, The Times of London, June 5, 2003
Posted on March 20, 2000 at 6:42 AM